Zeynab B. is 49, a brave married woman who works hard for the good of her five children, and she does so with the help of her husband and two sons of 20 and 22 years old. She has 21 years of experience in breeding and selling cattle. Her husband usually sells her cattle in the livestock bazaar. The strict discipline she uses with her children allows her to count on her household’s advice and support in working the fields. Zeynab’s children’s grateful attitude continues to encourage her and they have gathered many lessons during this time that they can use when they form their own households. Zeynab needs a small loan to purchase one more calf.
Aqroinvest Credit Union was founded in 2001 by a group of 32 farmers from Imishli. It has since grown to become the largest credit union in Azerbaijan, owned by its more than 5,400 borrowers and boasting a portfolio of nearly US$12 million.
AqroInvest is focused on providing loans to the following groups of people: rural farmers, people living in distant southern villages with little or no access to finance and internally displaced people and refugees, many of whom lost their homes and livelihoods during the violent conflicts in the 1990s.
In May 2011, Aqroinvest started a new project with Kiva proving higher education loans to students. The project gives students the support and financing they need to continue their education and helps pay for tuition fees at various universities in Azerbaijan. Aqroinvest is the first credit union in the country to offer students loans.